• Published 8th Jul 2014
  • 464 Views, 15 Comments

Time Never Stops Ticking - MaximumPartyInc

Read on the edge of your seat as the wondrous story of four ponies explore a whole new world while trying to find a way home.

  • ...

2: The After-Awakening

The After-Awakening

The three mares and stallion stared at the sight before them. The city had a heavy fog that obstructed any view from above and there was a tall wall around the whole thing. There seemed to be no way in. On top of that, there was a manticore snoring softly not too far from where they stood. It was partially blocked from view by a bunch of yellow and pink bushes. Spirit let out a string of quiet curses, stomped her hoof, and her eye began to twitch. Pyre motioned for her to stop while keeping an eye on the manticore. Said creature moved and rolled over. Lynx put a hoof on Spirit's mouth. That only made her angrier.

"Get your hooves off of me!"

"Shut up, Rain! You'll wake the damn thing!" Pyre hissed. Spirit stopped her madness long enough to glare at him. Onyx and Lynx sighed.

"What is wrong with you?" Lynx asked. Spirit lowered her eyes and kicked at the ground.

"I have anger problems."

"No kidding." the other two mares and stallion said in unison. The three stared at the mare like she was crazy. Spirit had to fight the sudden urge to hit somepony and growled. She turned and walked away, kicking dust in everypony's faces. Pyre put a hoof up to cover his eyes from the dust and followed her. Onyx gave him a look as he took a few steps past her.

"Don’t go and bother her." she said sternly. Lynx coughed and nodded in agreement.

"Leave that mad mare alone." she motioned for him to follow her and grabbed Onyx. "Let's find a way into this city." They reluctantly followed the multicolored mare and walked the perimeter of the city. Pyre was searching for any cracks in the wall large enough for a pony to fit though, but he found none. Lynx was rubbing up on his side with a flirtatious wink and grinned mischievously. While Pyre didn't mind the female attention, Lynx wasn't the one he was feeling for at the time. He swiftly swung his hind leg in her direction and caught her right in the side of the knee. Lynx let out a yelp of surprise and pain and fell flat on her face. Pyre stifled a laugh and obtained a glare from Onyx.

"Faff waff uncaffed foooorf!" Lynx complained with a mouthful of dirt.

"Pyre, haven't you ever learned that it's so unlike a gentlecolt to put your hooves on a lady?"

"She's not a lady, she's a... a parasite...?" he cocked his head, searching for a better word for it. "Oh yes. She's a Whorse!"

"Pyre Shine!" Onyx stomped her hoof.

"Fine. She's a parasitic whorse." Lynx, at this point, had finished spitting out the dirt in her mouth. She stood up and stared daggers at the pegasus stallion. Pyre only smirked.

"Excuse me!?" Lynx shouted. "I am not a whorse! I don't even act like one! Do I really act like one?" She shouted once again. Pyre couldn't get enough, at this point it was completely hilarious and with that he replied, "Yep," he said simply. Lynx, on the other hand, looked like she was about to explode. Her hair was frizzy in a way that did not compliment her bandana and her left eye twitched with anger. She wanted to charge the annoying asshole right into the wall right then.

"GAH! You're worse than the trip to Appleoosa I took! And it was a crap hole up there!" She said angrily. This caught the stallion off guard.

" 'Scuse me?" He said putting his attention on her finally. "Do NOT talk about Appaloosa like that. It is a great place and I have family up there!"
He said, angered at the unintentional insult to a favorite place of his. Lynx raised a brow and a slow smile grew on her face.

"I'm going to find a way into this city and you are going to go get Spirit and forget that this ever happened." Confusion struck Lynx as the pale yellow stallion trotted away. How could he just act so irrationally and then just brush it off? He gave her an order on top of that. Did he seriously expect her to just do as he said? Well, they did have to find her anyways so, instead of pressing anything, Lynx grudgingly obeyed and went to look for Spirit. After a few minutes of walking through various strange orange and cyan bushes, looking for Spirit, Lynx finally found something; a small pond with purple water. Lynx avoided the the pond, since the water was the wrong color and she did not know if it was water at all, and walked around it.

As she walked around she looked to see Spirit sitting down at the other side of said pond. Spirit was staring down at the murky, purple water with a distant expression on her face. She hadn't even heard Lynx come up behind her. Lynx took a few cautious steps towards the dark mare.

"Spirit?... You ok?" she asked cautiously. Upon hearing her name, Spirit jumped. She looked over at the intruder and glared. She didn't look like she was in the mood to be around anypony.

"What do you want?"

"I came to look for you. You're a bit out of it." Spirit didn't respond to this. She just looked down and continued to stare at the pond. Lynx flattened her ears against her skull. She bit her bottom lip before finally blurting out, "I-I wanted to say I'm sorry." This was what Spirit expected at all.

"For what?"

"I shouldn't have gone at you like that. I dunno... I just... I just felt this connection with Pyre, you know? He's so cute with his green eyes and his red and orange hair. I've always loved redheads. I've always loved green-eyed ponies too. And his voice... ooooh! I get the shivers every time he utters those sweet, sweet words."

"Gotta love the redheads." Spirit huffed sarcastically. "Wait, what words?" Lynx shrugged. She gave the mare an unsure smile.

"I dunno. Basically anything he says." Lynx sighed. "Especially when he does that low chuckling thing. Mmm." Spirit gave her and odd look. She smirked and blew a strand of hair out of her face.

"So, what you're trying to say is that he gets you really hot and bothered, huh?" Lynx blushed.

"Wh-wha...?! I never... I didn't... shut up!" Spirit rolled on her back, laughing, kicking her hooves and holding her sides.

"What was that?" she teased. Lynx continued to blubber and get redder.

"SHUUUUUDUUUUUP!!!" Spirit continued to laugh. She finally rolled over and wiped her eyes.

"What's this? Tears of joy? What do you think this is, vacation? Get back up there!" The tears followed Spirit's commands as if she could manipulate it's very will and rolled back up her cheeks, into her eyes. "That's what I thought."

"I can't believe you just did that."

"What, I don't see why you're blushing now with all that flirting you do."

"I meant the thing with the tears... oh, nevermind."

"Why do you flirt so much with him, anyway? He's not exactly... boyfriend material, y'know." Lynx thought for a second.

"I mean, he's cute. He seems like somewhat of a... a bad boy?" Spirit snorted.

"You wish! I know what a bad boy is like and trust me, he is not it. He's just an asshole. I don't even know why you bother with him. He's not interested. I mean, it's fun for a girl to play around with her prey a bit but you've got to be smooth with it." Lynx cocked her head.

"How so?"

"Well, for the past few hours, you've been flirting nonstop. If you just suddenly stopped, imagine his reaction."

"I never thought of that."

"You have to be... subtle about it."

"As you can see, that is not my specialty... but... I'll try. Thanks, Rain girl."

"Your welcome... fru fru." The two stood awkwardly until they decided to settle by the edge of the pond, staring in as if searching for answers. The two mares sat there like that for a while. They were not friends, not even close, but they seemed to be able to tolerate each other. How long their unspoken truce would that last, they didn't quite know.
There was a sudden rumbling noise and the ground began to shake with short tremors. Spirit rushed to her hooves. Lynx looked around, panicking and clutched the ground as if it would save her. The water in the pond began to ripple. Lynx stared at the water in horror.

"C'mon, don't do this to me. Don't sprout some crazy alien spawn shit after I come over here!" A little red and white bud emerged from the dark, purple waters. It continued to rise a couple of feet into the air. The bud was attached to a slippery, yellow stem. The stem arched over a little and the plant stopped growing. The two mares stared at the plant warily for a few minutes and waited to see if anything would happen.
Nothing. No tremors, no more ripples in the pond, and the plant was as still as a corpse. Lynx got up slowly and examined the plant. Her common sense told her to stay away but her curiosity won. Spirit eyed the plant from afar. It was then that she noticed a root that had sprouted from the ground.

"Hey, fru fru, you shouldn't put your face near that-" The bud suddenly opened and sprayed blue mist in Lynx's face. "Thing!" Lynx stumbled backwards like a drunkard. Spirit stared at her with a puzzled frown.

"Are you alright? Does anything feel weird?" Lynx shook her head and bit her lip. She plopped down on her flank.

"I-I c-can't..." she was suddenly racked by a fit of coughs. They were violent and dry. She eventually spat out a wad of blood and spit. "Oh Celestia..." She mumbled. Her eyes rolled back into her head and she collapsed on the ground. Spirit prodded her with her hoof. She didn't respond. She was a quivering, twitching mass. Spirit was about to try to drag her to the others when the plant, which was now a red and white flower, grew out of the pond and slithered up to the unconscious mare and the shocked one like a snake.

"What the hell...?" Spirit dragged Lynx faster, only to have the plant slither faster to them. "GUUUUUUUUUYS! WE NEED HELP OVER HERE!" There was silence, except for the slimy stem of the plant against the blue grass of course, for a few minutes before Spirit heard what she wanted to hear.

"Spirit? What's wrong?" Onyx called.

"What the buck is that!?" Pyre swore, ahead of Onyx and staring at the plant in awe and fear. The plant caught up to Spirit and wrapped around Lynx. It took her from the dark mare's grasp and lifted her into the air. The flower petals suddenly sprouted long, sharp and jagged teeth. A set of six tentacles grew from the center of the flower and rubbed against Lynx's face hungrily.

"Sweet Celestia." Onyx said, skidding to a halt next to Pyre and Spirit. The plant was going to eat her!

"Somepony do something! Stop staring like a bunch of idiots!" she yelled at them. This snapped Pyre and Onyx out of their shocked state.

"Huh? Oh, right! Onyx, you said you can teleport ponies well, right?" He said quickly.

"Yes dear, but I don't see wha-" She was interrupted by Pyre.

"Then teleport me into that overgrown bastard’s stem!" He said cutting her off.

"What!? Are you insane!?" She looked over to Lynx as she came ever close to getting snapped in half by the overgrown flower.

"Just do it!" he yelled impatiently.

"A-alright" she said unsurely as her horn glowed, and with a shine of light Pyre reappeared on the stem of the bud. He turned around and reared back until he kicked the back of the flowers... head? It dropped Lynx and snarled at Pyre, who had jumped off it's back and landed on the ground. Pyre inched back and the thing lunged at him, trying to snap him in half. He expertly rolled to the side and the flower hit one of the multicolored trees behind him.

As the flower was stunned and on the ground, Pyre got up on top of it. He started to repeatedly trample and buck the flowers stem until he heard a satisfying snap. As the flower yelped and was separated from the other half of the stem, he stopped his attacks. The plant oozed a sickly orange goo from it's dismembered body.

"Job... done..." Pyre said panting, out of breathe, and hooves covered in the orange plant goo.. which looked suspiciously like actual blood. Spirit was tending to Lynx. She appeared to have a gash on her side. It wasn't too deep but it was bleeding a lot. Spirit took the bandanna off of Lynx's head, untied it, and wrapped it around the multicolored mare’s barrel. She also took the bow string that was holding Lynx's hair in a ponytail. She used to tie the bandanna into place. Lynx groaned softly. Spirit put an ear to her chest and counted the heartbeats.

"What is the normal heart rate of a pony?" she asked herself.

Onyx took the plant’s slimy, gooey carcass in her magical grasp and trotted over to the murky, purple waters of the pond. She dropped it in and watched it sink with a scowl on her face. Onyx looked around for any trace of the plant that could have been lying around only to find nothing. She turned and trotted towards Pyre, who was trying to wipe the slimy stuff off of himself, when she saw three little white seeds littered on the blue grass. Onyx looked in both directions to make sure no pony was looking and snatched the seeds up.

Pyre was too busy trying to wipe the goo off of him to see Onyx trot nervously past him with seeds in her magical grasp. Oh, how Onyx wished she had a bag of some sort! Pyre let out an annoyed whinny and stomped over to the other three mares, furious that he was dirty with a substance that he couldn't identify. He couldn't even wash it off, for he did not know what other dangers hid beneath the surface of the waters of this world. Pyre squeezed through Onyx and Spirit. Maybe he could use his guards pony skills to use. Spirit pushed him roughly with a glare.

"Let's see what we got here." Pyre peeked at Lynx and his jaw dropped. Lynx did not look good. She looked paler underneath that soft, light grey fur of hers and her breathing was shallow. Pyre swallowed, he didn't know what had happened to her before he and Onyx arrived but he knew that whatever the plant had done to her, her body was not responding well. Lynx let out another groan.

"She got injured real bad, Pyre." Onyx stated. Pyre grunted in response. The bandanna seemed to have slowed the blood flow, which was good, it meant it would soon stop completely. Pyre suddenly wished he had a First Aid Kit since the injury needed to be cleaned, treated, and bandaged. He lifted her limp body onto his back and turned to the others.

"We should probably find a way into that city."

"You're right, darling. It's getting late." The ponies looked up, into the sky and saw that it had gone from green to a deep scarlet-blue. It was odd colors for a sunset, but hey, they still didn't know where they were, why they were there, or how they got to that Celestia forsaken location in the first place. They began to walk around the wall of the city once more, searching for any way into the city at all. They figured they should quicken the pace since one was hurt so they decided to split up. Spirit ran up ahead, Onyx went to find any higher ground to see if there was anything in the wall in the first place, and Pyre just walked. He heard Lynx shift slightly.

"Please don't wake up now. Please don't wake up now." Pyre pleaded. Lynx yawned. "Shit." She opened her eyes and took a few seconds to gather her surroundings. Pyre flattened his ears when he heard her gasp. "Yea, yea. You're on my back. You're awake now, so get off." Lynx didn't utter a word. She hopped off with a whimper of pain and rubbed her neck sheepishly.

"Um... thanks for carrying me. I'll just... uh... go this way." She turned and sprinted up ahead wobbling a bit because of the post-weakness from blood loss and limping slightly due to pain, leaving Pyre genuinely surprised at her reaction.

"Huh, I expected her to turn all slutty... I wonder when she is going to realize that the cloth covering her wound is her bandana?" Pyre wondered. He heard a gasp and a yell in the distance.

"MOTHER BUCKER!" Lynx yelled from afar... Pyre smiled with satisfaction at how pissed she already was... again.

"There we go, just how I like it." He said chuckling and smirking. He heard a slight shifting and rustling in the foliage nearby that caught his attention. He stopped trotting and tried to look at the foliage near him. "Hello? Anybody there?" Pyre asked cautiously. He stepped closer to get a better view and was rewarded with a low growl and two beady eyes that pierced into his very soul.

"Uhh... H-hello there?" He said, a little more intimidated. A paw was placed forward out of the foliage, followed by another a second later. "N-nice, gigantic kitty. Calm down and I will just be on m-" he was cut off by a roar as it pounced out of the foliage in front of him, revealing it to be a manticore. "Oh buck me...MANTICORE!" He yelled as he galloped away. The giant hybrid freak took chase through the brush lines, out of sight, as if it was leaving him be.

He saw the rustling in the bushes behind him while he galloped. "This isn't how manticores react! They’re usually peaceful and mind there own business unless disturbed or mad! What the hell’s wrong with this place!?" he shouted as he ran. He saw Lynx in front of him as he galloped away from the predator hunting them. He sped up and lowered his head. He used his head and scooped her up flank first onto his back. She yelped with surprise and looked down at him.
"Oh, hello there." She said batting her eyelashes. "You gonna put a ring on it?" She asked playfully.

"Oh shut up! By Celestia, you're heavy!" He yelled, trying to run faster. She gave him a dirty look and then noticed the manticore chasing them from directly behind now.
She let out an ear piercing scream as the manticore got within biting range. As the manticore tried to bite at her, she hiked her hind legs and tail out of the way. She felt weird with the way she was sitting on him, looking like she was taking him for a ride, revealing a rather awkward position on Pyre's back.

"Go faster! Faster!" She screamed, as the manticore was stunned on the ground. The screams stunned the manicores hearing and made it trip up a bit, losing speed on the two and falling back. After trying to catch up again, all the manticore heard is another scream, again knocking him off track. He hissed in defeat and slowly stopped chasing them after a while, backing off into the tree line. As soon as Pyre really thought he was gone, he finally gave out and fell over.

"I can't... believe... you just... saved... us... by screaming..." he said, panting heavily as she got up.

"Me... either?" she said awkwardly, also panting and getting up wobbly. She stumbled a few feet away, staring at the wall with new interest. She looked side to side, hoping to find some sort of entrance, unfortunately finding none. With a hiss, she started to walk up ahead without uttering a word, leaving Pyre questioning her sudden quietness. He shrugged and held his tongue just for the sake of getting some silence from that mare for once.

Spirit decided she'd have to ignore the fact that there might be extremely dangerous plants and/or animals in the underbrush and feel the wall behind a tangle of vines and leaves. She held her breath as she approached the vines and pressed herself up against it. Her fore hooves carefully crept along the rough wall surface, searching for any openings that might have been so covered up with foliage that they'd passed it while searching back and forth along the wall. She kept this up for a few minutes before deciding that she had the right idea, just in the wrong section of the wall. Spirit cursed, It would take forever to search the entire damn wall! She let out a yell, not caring who or what heard her at this point, and smashed her hooves against the wall as hard as she could. There a crack and a whir and suddenly, there was a low rumbling, coming from the wall and not the ground itself.

Onyx hid in some bushes as she heard a thud. She didn't know what it was but it had followed the rumbling and the other noises she heard. She waited, hoping nothing would jump out at her, especially now while she was alone, and stared out into the ravenous fields of craziness that she'd found herself in. She wished that they hadn't split up now. It was stupid to do that, now that she thought about it. Equines were social creatures. They traveled together, ate together, and lived together in groups. It was only herd instinct to yearn for the presence of somepony else. Onyx shoved her ears forward, swiveling them left and right to pick up any sounds of danger. The rumbling stopped, finally. She got up from her crouching position in the bush and took a few tentative steps forward, still cautious. She sniffed, now in full survival mode, and turned her head side to side to see if she could catch anypony's scent.

"I think I found something!" she could hear in the distance, but had no clue in which direction. She waited, every fiber in her being, listening for where the voice was coming from. "Hey, guys, I think I found something! I'm over here! Hello!?" Onyx was off like a bullet.

Lynx heard Onyx calling to them. She started to run towards her voice, but then there was an awful pain in her side, like being struck with a knife. She slid to a halt, gasping for breath. She doubled over and groaned, the pain intensifying and starting to get a headache. Pyre was catching up to her. He stopped, looked her over, and raised a brow with a frown.

"I'm guessing the pain came back." Pyre said, stating the obvious.

"Yeeeessss. How far away is Spirit?" Pyre squinted at the distance.

"Is that her right there?" He leaned forward. "Yep, that's her. Let's go." He was about to scoop her up again when there was a roar. The two turned around to see the manticore running towards them, again. Lynx screamed and groaned, hopping on his back in pain, throwing him off balance and making him stumble before catching himself, it was only his guard training that allowed him to continue on, despite the load and constant running.

"GO!" she shrieked. Pyre let out a whinny and reared, kicking himself off with his hind legs and running as fast as he could. Lynx held onto him with dear life. "I really need to get out of here." she mumbled. They finally caught up with Onyx, who said that she heard Spirit and was heading towards her now. When Onyx saw the manticore, causing her eyes to nearly pop out of her head and she kept up with Pyre while running.

"I thought the manticore was sleeping!" Onyx whined.

"Well, it isn't now." Pyre hissed. He and Onyx stepped in puddles of orange goo. They were nearing the purple pond, which meant they were closer to Spirit. Lynx held out a hoof and closed her eyes. She looked like she was concentrating really hard. "What are you doing? You better not be trying something!"

"Just shut the fuck up for once, Pyre." Lynx said, still concentrating, "Please and thank you." Onyx snickered as Pyre snorted angrily.

"Just remember you're on my back." Lynx raised her hoof higher and just as the three passed the purple pond, the murky waters rose about three feet into the air and splashed the manticore in the face. This caused the creature to stop and analyze what just happened before shaking itself off and continuing to give chase. Lynx did some complicated motions with her forelegs and more water splashed the manticore, soaking it, but this time the water froze. Soon, there was just a big block of ice with a shocked manticore inside. Pyre put his flank down hard on the ground and skidded to a stop. Onyx was staring at Lynx and ran into a bush.

"What the absolute buck was that!?" Pyre exclaimed. Lynx shrugged.

"It's a little something, something I can do." Blood trickled from her nose. She wiped it and put a hoof to her head. "Since I'm an earth pony, it puts a lot of strain on my body."

"But how can an earth pony even do that?" Onyx questioned, picking the splinters off of herself. She eyed Lynx's cutie mark, a double-helix made of water.

"My mother was a unicorn and my grandfather too. I've just got that power in there, you know? Now, can we please get to Spirit before she blows a gasket and before my headache gets worse?"

"Fine." the other two ponies huffed and decided to trot over to the awaiting mare. Said mare was not happy about how long it took them to come. Lynx slowly got off Pyre's back.

"What, you had to make the world itself and wait for it to cool?" she growled. Lynx giggled. Spirit rolled her eyes at her but smirked. Pyre glanced at the both of them. Don't they normally not get along? Spirit sighed and motioned to the wall. "There's and entrance to the city behind these vines right here. We can squeeze through, one by one, and close the wall door thingy behind us. We don't want that sleeping manticore to wake up and crawl in."

"Oh, it's not sleeping anymore." Onyx said. Spirit's ears flattened.

"Yea, 'cause this one froze it!" Pyre motioned to Lynx. Spirit furrowed her brows and gave each of them a quizzical look.

"With what, exactly? She's and earth pony. I can't even do ice spells."

"It's true. The manticore is frozen just a little ways that way." Pyre pointed. "She used the odd colored water from that pond. I can't believe I'm saying this, but Lynx might actually be cool!" Spirit glanced at Lynx. Spirit had a very impressed look on her face. The earth pony simply blushed and shrugged with a distant expression. She stepped foreward and poked at the vines.

"Where's the entrance now?" She must have felt something because she let out an 'eep' and stuck her head through, followed by the rest of her body. Pyre shared a look with Onyx.

"What's up with her?" he asked. The others finally decided to go through. They squeezed in and with a lot of struggling shut the entrance by sliding the door-shaped rock slab into place.

"We did it!" The quartet cheered. They did not hear the hoofsteps behind them.

"What took you guys so long?"